As is his goal every year, Jack Cole had balance in mind while putting together the lineup for season number seven of the popular Folk Night at the Registry series.
All six concerts in the 2012-13 season reflect a desire for a mix of ages, genders and styles. If there’s a common thread, it’s that all of the performers welcome audience participation, which is to be expected given that the series is organized by The Old Chestnuts Song Circle, where local folk aficionados come together.
“We have an exciting mix of Canadian and international performers, with singer-songwriters and traditional – and not so traditional – musicians bringing audiences the broad and evocative music that makes up folk.”
As well, local musicians will be featured in opening sets at most concerts.
From Joe Crookston, a performer who’ll be making his first Canadian appearance, to Juno Award-winning Canadian folk mainstay Connie Kaldor, the lineup reflects an eclectic mix … and Cole’s ear for what works.
In Crookston’s case, for instance, Cole acknowledges the Ithaca, NY-based is an unknown quantity in these parts, but one well worth getting to know.
After hearing Crookston’s ‘Fall Down as the Rain,’ Cole promptly contacted the performer – “That’s how I picked Joe Crookston: that one song,” he laughed – and acquired his albums, learning Crookston is an accomplished singer-songwriter with a wide range to his songs.
“He wanders all over the folk map.”
While unknown here, Crookston is a fan favourite at festivals in the U.S, and has picked up a few awards along the way. He opens the season Sept. 22.
Next up in the series is Heather Dale, who is certainly no stranger to local audiences, as she’s a former UW student whose Christmas concerts are can’t-miss events. And it’s a Christmas show she’ll be performing Dec. 8.
A favourite in Celtic music circles, she’s making inroad with folkies, said Cole. She writes songs for “modern dreamers,” tapping into legends, mythology, history and fantasy. Drawing from mythology, literature and her own travels, her original songs range from simple folk melodies to richly orchestrated musical re-tellings of world legends. Her 15 albums include This Endris Night, a Christmas recording that will feature prominently in her Folk Night show.
Where the first two performers in the lineup will be somewhat new to the local folk scene, concert number three features a performer known to all, said Cole: Connie Kaldor. She takes to the stage Jan. 12, 2013.
Kaldor is a Juno Award-winning artist and member of the Order of Canada. A native of Regina now living in Montreal, she’s known for her engaging character and storytelling skills, hallmarks of her live performances. Since the mid-1980s she has headlined folk festivals across North America.
Kaldor has thus far recorded 14 albums and, in 2002, she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the arts in Canada.
The following month, on Feb. 9, the series takes a more raucous turn with an appearance by Genticorum, a high-energy Quebecois trio playing traditional music.
The three performers – “all incredible musicians” – create a huge sound that features intricate fiddle and flute melodies, backed by guitar and electric bass and rich vocals that blend in stirring three-part harmonies, he said.
Throw in a humorous stage show that ties the music and the audience together and it’s no surprise Genticorum has been on top of must-return request list since the band last performed here in April 2008.
“These guys put on a great show, all foot-stomping, toe-tapping music.”
Returning to some of the musicians he tapped for last year’s Southern Ontario Folk Reunion, Cole has put together a performance by David Bradstreet, Brent Titcomb, and David Woodhead on Mar. 9.
“[They] were part of our reunion concert in season five, and have written some of my favourite songs. I am thrilled to bring them back to give you a bigger sampling of their excellent songwriting.”
Bradstreet, a Juno Award winner, is best known for his song ‘Renaissance,’ a hit for Canadian icon Valdy. He has been recognized for his work as a singer/songwriter, composer and producer; 21 albums bearing his name; and music credits, including a Gemini nomination, film and television soundtracks and scoring.
Titcomb, singer-songwriter, guitarist, percussionist, actor, began his career in Vancouver in 1963, combining traditional folk material with the flair for comedy that has remained an integral element of his performances.
Woodhead has explored much musical territory on his own and with other notable travellers. His creative instrumental work has appeared on over 200 albums in the contemporary folk field, and he has worked with countless artists, including Garnet and Stan Rogers, Scott Merritt, Don Ross, Oliver Schroer, Loreena McKennitt, Gil Scott-Heron and Valdy.
The season wraps up May 25 with The Outside Track.
Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Vancouver, its five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation.
The lineup comprises Norah Rendell (Canadian Traditional Singer of the Year nominee), Mairi Rankin (from the Cape Breton group Beolach), Ailie Robertson (Live Ireland winner, BBC Young Trad finalist), Fiona Black (BBC Fame Academy winner), and Cillian O’Dalaigh.
“They live all over the place, but they’ve been able to make it work, to come together to tour,” said Cole of The Outside Track’s members.
“That’ll be a good night out for fans of Celtic music.”
All shows in the Folk Night at the Registry series take place at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener. For more information, visit www.registrytheatre.com or www.grandriverfolk.org.